Showcasing Dal's diverse artistic talents

Student, Staff, Faculty and Alumni exhibition now on display

- December 14, 2016

Exploring the exhibit. (Danny Abriel photos)
Exploring the exhibit. (Danny Abriel photos)

Beyond the labs, classrooms and research, across many programs and majors, there is great artistic talent within the Dalhousie community.

A reception held last Thursday brought together art appreciators of all kinds to celebrate these artists and mark the opening of the 63rd annual Dalhousie University and University of King’s College Student, Staff, Faculty, and Alumni Exhibition.  

The talent is diverse and the standard for art is high in the Dalhousie Art Gallery for the show, which was curated by gallery director Peter Dykhuis and runs from December 9-22.

“Our Dalhousie is multi-faceted and multi-talented,” said Norma Williams, Dal’s executive director for diversity and inclusiveness, in remarks at the opening.

During the reception, the artists had the chance to introduce their work to the crowd, citing their processes, inspirations and their appreciation for the platform the event provides.

Landscapes, detailed drawings, photography collections and abstract paintings are just a few of the many styles showcased on the gallery’s walls this year.

From personal to political

Athar Qureshi uses acrylic on canvas to create his work for this event using skills he taught himself. “I’ve loved art since I was small,” he said, “but I’ve never taken a class.”

Qureshi, who graduated from Health Informatics at Dal last year, spent almost 85 hours on one of his pieces, Life is a Puzzle. “It’s about the complexities of life, the mazes and labyrinths,” he explained.

As attendees wandered the gallery and looked at the artwork mounted on the walls, one eye-catching piece took a completely different approach. In one corner, Nicholas Jung sits on the floor, eating paper.

“I always had a fascination with performance art,” says Jung, a third-year philosophy student at the University of King’s College. “I wanted to look into changing an object physically.”

Jung used political motivation for his performance, spending time researching the Declaration of Independence and its symbolic relevance. During the performance, he chews up a copy of the revered document.

Towards more inclusive art

This wide range of expression impressed Williams. “I was blown away,” she said. Along with the various media on display, Williams praised the celebration of the diversity of Dal, and in her opening speech, called for greater attention to diversity and inclusiveness in the arts in general.  

“Exciting things are happening,” she said, referencing the Canadian Council for the Arts’ incoming funding model, which directly ties diversity to funding for large arts organizations. She also mentioned the Dalhousie Art Gallery’s two recent exhibitions by African Nova Scotians and the leadership the gallery is providing to projects designed to reflect inclusiveness at the university.

“These happenings demonstrate that not only diversity and inclusiveness in the arts can happen, but also how easily they can be accomplished," she said.

“Artistic events representing in whole or in part diversity and inclusiveness need to be a regular event. The gallery is on the way to ensuring artistic expression embodies all who attend Dal and the communities we serve.”

The Student, Staff, Faculty and Alumni Exhibition runs through December 22 at the Dalhousie Art Gallery, located in the basement of the Dalhousie Arts Centre. The gallery is open Tuesday to Friday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on weekends from noon to 5 p.m. Admission is free.


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